Source: NFL has one-way option to exit DirecTV deal at end of 2019 season

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Conflicting reports have emerged in recent weeks regarding the duration of the NFL’s deal with DirecTV and, more importantly, the league’s ability to pull the plug on it prematurely.

Sports Business Journal previously reported that the league must exercise it’s ability to opt out of the $1.5 billion per year arrangement for NFL Sunday Ticket before the start of the 2019 regular season and that, if the league doesn’t, the contract lasts through the 2021-22 campaign. recently reported that a mutual window for early termination has passed, that the two sides extended it via a “gentleman’s agreement,” and that the contract runs through 2020-21.

In a Thursday inteview with Julia Boorstin of CNBC, Commissioner Roger Goodell described the reported Week One 2019 deadline as “not accurate,” without elaborating on the accurate terms of the arrangement.

A source with direct knowledge of the terms of the deal tells PFT that the contract runs through the 2021-22 season, and that the NFL has a one-way option through the end of the 2019 season to cancel it prematurely. The source attributes the recent noise regarding the situation to “other nuances” related to the deal.

DirecTV, which is currently owned by AT&T, primarily makes the out-of-market Sunday games available via satellite. The league seems to be interested in developing a robust (and profitable) streaming option.

“[I]f there’s a way to bring DirecTV and give them an opportunity to expand the Sunday Ticket to other platforms, that’s something we’re interested [in] and engaged with, as well as looking at other platforms outside of that ecosystem,” Goodell told CNBC.

Regardless, the big-picture reality is that the two sides are indeed bound together for 2019-20, and that the NFL has the ability prior to the end of the current season to say “no thanks” as to the final two years, which absent premature termination will pay out $3 billion to the league.

33 responses to “Source: NFL has one-way option to exit DirecTV deal at end of 2019 season

  1. Roger doing a bang up job promoting the NFL into last place in the market regarding digital delivery of their product.

    Clearly earning that $40M salary. Knob.

  2. Here’s a Business 101 lesson for everyone: If someone offers you a 2 year/$3 billion deal (guaranteed), you take it. You take the money and don’t even think about ending it early. It’s that simple.

  3. I wonder how many customers DTV would lose. We got them 22 years ago specifically for the NFL package but they would still have a price advantage over cable here.

  4. If you give your fans the middle finger by keeping this deal, they will give it back sooner or later. Bank on that.

  5. By all means, please exit the DirecTV deal and go with a top notch digital streaming provider. Then allow users to purchase a streaming package for just gaames of their favorite team at a reasonable price. Get this right NFL…

  6. Amazon paid $130 million to stream 11 Thursday Night games (that were also airing on FOX).

    Imagine how much they’d offer for Sunday Ticket? Prime members would be ecstatic and wouldn’t care about the monthly fee add-on or increase.

  7. I’d be done with DirecTv if they got rid of Sunday Ticket. It is cheaper for just about every other platform out here, and they dont offer the Pac 12 Network.

  8. Doesn’t matter. Belichick and Brady will be done before too long and my interest in purchasing games to watch will go to about zero after that.

  9. Who cares plenty of streaming services out there that give you the ticket along with every other pay service heck I pay $10 month and get everything

  10. The NFL’s ratings took a nose dive after Peyton Manning retired. When Tom Brady and Drew Brees follow suit, it will be even worse. Brady’s jersey was the No. 1 best selling this past season. Some teams have better markets and larger fanbases than others. When the NFL’s top stars are gone, both Directv and the NFL will take a hit, even if it’s minor.

  11. I’ve said it before, just let them have it but NON-EXCLUSIVELY and then expand Game Pass to USA viewers. Everybody wins and if AT&T doesn’t like it, tough luck.

  12. perscientist
    Dude, I know that there are just a ton of noobs who just hate Goodell because he is an authority figure but.. C’mon. Show some awareness. The NFL and its popularity and its revenue is SECOND TO NONE in sports.
    Criticize him if you choose because you don’t like his authority but he has done nothing but make the NFL MORE popular and profitable.
    To suggest otherwise is just ignorance of the facts.
    The only issue the NFL has had was a downturn after the idiotic anthem protests that drove patriotic fans away.

  13. Would love an option to purchase a single team package as does. While Sunday Ticket is great for fantasy football I am good with full access to my team’s games (sadly the Lions) and catching up on fantasy through RedZone.

  14. source7769 says:
    July 12, 2019 at 6:32 pm
    Who cares plenty of streaming services out there that give you the ticket along with every other pay service heck I pay $10 month and get everything
    Maybe you’d fill us in on this great pay service for ten bucks a month!

  15. If the NFL Sunday Ticket and RedZone channel were available on Amazon Prime Video I’d sign up right now! Or Netflix.

  16. I’d love to have an option for ala-carte games, & or “Team” packages. I don’t want to pay for every game, every week. I would willing pay for the games I want to watch, & or my teams games though….

  17. I cut the cord in 2011 and just the thought of ever going back is laughable. If there’s a paid streaming service available with the kind of quality I get from MLB.TV, I’d pay it. But there are plenty of places to watch football every Sunday without having to resort to being ripped off by these cable companies every month. YouTube has way better content than cable/network television anyhow (for now).

  18. I’d love to have a “team” package option too. But those of you calling for the NFL to offer this just don’t get it. It’s never going to happen.
    That would lead to the majority of fans watching only Patriots or saints or packers games.
    They make you buy all the games so they can charge more. Simple economics. Never gonna be team or game packages. And if there is, you will not like the price.

  19. The reality here is quite simple – AT & T wants the NFL to opt out. In fact, AT & T is likely begging the NFL to opt out.


    Sunday Ticket subscribers represent roughly 11% of DirecTV’s total customers, but with a $1.5B annual cost. AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV at a premium price was similar to the acquisition of a taxi company in 2012 or Blockbuster Video in 2008. DirecTv’s satellite-based business is going to be a hit in areas without high speed internet only.

    Don’t buy into the idiotic notion that the NFL needs to take the $3b. My guess is that if the NFL took streaming rights to market, they’d double the $3b with ease over the next 2 years, and most likely, they’d be ability to get a long term contract with opt-outs.

    Let’s put it this way – the dumbest financial decision the NFL could make in this scenario is to maintain the status quo.

  20. The NFL wants to rush and get that new CBA with the players union AND THEN they’ll canx the DirectTV deal with AT&T and make billions more for themselves with a new deal.

    I knew when AT&T bought DirectTV for 70 Billion and Time Warner for 110 Billion they would RUIN EVERYTHING.

  21. The NFL just wants to keep all Pay-Per-View games on its own network.
    The whole DirecTV thing was just an experiment, one designed to test the waters towards making EVERY NFL game Pay-Per-View. You could see that coming when they started selling individual weekends.
    Don’t want to buy a ticket to the game? You’re going to pay to watch anyway.
    The days of seeing sports for free on TV are ending.

  22. I just received my latest bill and was notified that the Sunday Ticket will again be available this year. No info yet whether there will be an increase in the price. Since AT&T took over,the service has suffered dramatically. They refused to negotiate with the Pac 12 network. They have now dropped two local TV stations(ABC & CBS. More people are complaining and cancelling their subscriptions. Now,our local Congressman is getting involved though I fear he has little leverage. It’s all about the money; customer service and satisfaction be dammed. In response to the local station’s pleas for the viewers to call DirecTv and complain, they are apparently offering a one time credit, or an indoor antenna instead. We will continue to soldier through as long as the Sunday ticket is available. After that, all bets are off.

  23. I won’t leave Directv if the NFL is no longer offered through them. I refuse to watch the NFL on any other device but my tv.
    I’d rather watch something else than watch the NFL on a laptop or tablet or other such device.

  24. nyneal says:
    July 13, 2019 at 9:55 am
    I won’t leave Directv if the NFL is no longer offered through them. I refuse to watch the NFL on any other device but my tv.
    I’d rather watch something else than watch the NFL on a laptop or tablet or other such device.

    It’s not 2005 anymore, you can cast content to your TV or use a media box like Roku. Your laptop and tablet are just alternatives cable box, which scares the hell out of the media companies that are clearly in the death throes.

  25. I wish the NFL would end it’s deal with DirectV
    I have had Directv a few times & NFL sunday Ticket & it’s a rip off

    Directv will cost at least $120 a month & Sunday Ticket is a extra $400 a month & to add redzone you have top spend close to $500 a month extra on top of the $120 a month cause they don’t provide Redzone without sunday ticket & it isn’t even the real redzone

  26. I hope everyone realizes if they opt out of a 2 year 3 billion dollar deal they plan to make more than that. That means your idea of getting cheap streaming options is non existent. DirecTV sucks but most don’t pay full price for the NFL package.

  27. I just want to be able to pay for direct streaming of my team’s games for a monthly fee, regardless of market. Make it team specific for a lower (but still substantial I’m sure) fee and you have a customer for life.

  28. What I think should happen is that you should be able to watch and pay for only the games you want to watch. I’m a Packers fan who lives in NY, so the only game I want to see every week is the Packers game. Why should I have to pay for all the other games when all I want to see is the Packers game?

  29. Imagine the lawsuits if the NFL cut the DirecTV cord mid-season after all the sat subscribers have paid…

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